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New foot ferry fees will be higher for some, lower for others

The King County Ferry District has released its proposed schedule and fare structure for the passenger-only boat, suggesting the cost could be a bit higher for some and more affordable for others.

According to a presentation ferry officials made Saturday, passengers who use King County’s new ORCA Card, a card commuters can use for seven different transit agencies, will pay a one-way fare of $3.75; those who use cash will pay $4.50. Under the current fare structure, the one-way equivalent is $4.35.

But the ferry district won’t continue the Washington State Ferries’ discounted monthly pass rate, which costs users $117.80, according to a handout issued at the presentation. Under the new scenario, a monthly pass will cost commuters $135.

The ferry district, which takes over operation of the popular Vashon-to-downtown Seattle run in late September, also announced its proposed new schedule, which will include a third sailing both ways.

The plan, officials said, is to have a boat leave Vashon at 6:10 a.m., 7:10 a.m. and 8:10 a.m. The boat will depart from Seattle at 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Kathy Shaw, who chairs a Vashon-Maury Island Community Council committee focused on the passenger-only boat, said some at Saturday’s presentation were unhappy with the proposed schedule, even though it includes two additional runs. Currently, a lot of people have made the 4:45 p.m. sailing work for them, and leaving later — at 5:30 — would be frustrating, she said.

Even so, she was encouraged by the tenor of the meeting.

“I think they’re flexible and willing to listen,” she said. “They seem to be very proactive in working with riders.”

She also said the new ferry district plans to have fare stations on both the Vashon and Seattle side as well as a faster boat that will shave nearly 10 minutes off the sailing.

To comment

The ferry district’s board of supervisors will make a final decision about fares and schedules at its meeting at 1:30 p.m. Monday, July 20. To comment, send an e-mail with “Vashon comment” in the subject line to watertaxi.info@kingcounty.gov or leave a phone message at (206) 684-1551.

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